Colorectal cancer is a type of cancer disease that locates mainly in the colon.
Currently, the colon cancer is the widest spread oncological disease of the colon. Colon cancer is quite rare among people under the 40. At the same time, the probability of colon tumor increases in several times among people over 40.
Colon cancer occurs in both men and women in approximately equal proportions.
Regardless of the fact that in recent decades the treatment of colon cancer has acquired a variety of modern techniques, the forecasts for recovery have not radically changed. Mostly, this happens due to the fact that people tend to visit a doctor when the intestinal oncology reaches its final fourth stage. But if the cancer is detected before it has spread beyond the colon, the rate of survival after treatment is about 90%.
So far, medical practice has no proven causes of colon cancer yet. However, the majority of doctors claim that intestinal oncology is directly related to the formation of polyps inside the colon. Polyps area benign formations that appear on the intestinal mucosa.
Similarly, it is impossible to outline at least one particular risk factor or the reason leading to the colon cancer, because its growth is influenced by numerous factors like a diet, inflammatory processes within the colon, genetic predisposition and deterioration of ecological conditions.
Let’s examine all these factors in turn.
Diet is one of the keys and most important risk factors of colon cancer emergence. Scientific research found that colon cancer is more common in countries with a low-fiber diet and prevalence of meat. The reason for this is that an excessive quantity of meat in the food ration leads to an increase in the level of fatty acids. Under the influence of digestive enzymes, fatty acids convert to carcinogens that cause a cancer degeneration of cells. All this happens because people tend to receive a lot of food with high-saturated fats. Doctors admit that a Western type of nutrition aimed at the consumption of fatty and high-calorie products is especially dangerous for human health. These products lead to a slow movement of the food down the intestines that affects the intestinal mucosa badly. As a consequence, a dysbacteriosis appears which in turn becomes an indirect cause of the rectum cancer.
A completely different diet is common in developing countries. For example, colon cancer is very rare in the countries where the diet is rich with vegetable fibers (India or countries of the African continent). There is also an assumption that the vegetable fibers in large quantities can increase the volume of stool, which allegedly leads to some sort of ‘diluting’ the number of carcinogens in the colon lumen. Large quantities of emulsifiers, colorants and flavor enhancers are taken with food for a long period of time also contribute to the development of cancer in the gastrointestinal tract.
Chronic inflammatory diseases of the colon
Chronic inflammatory diseases of the colon are also a risk factor for cancer. These diseases include ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, and some others. Ulcerative colitis usually leads to the formation of a cancer tumor. The degree of the risk depends on the duration of the disease as well as its general course. It has been found out that in the event of the ulcerative colitis duration for up to 5 years the risk of cancer rises to 5%, and to 12% and 30% for 15 and 20 years respectively. The duration of chronic inflammation in the intestine for over 30 years leads to an increase in the colon cancer risk up to 8% and even more.
Polyps of the colon and rectum
Polyps are considered one of the pre-cancerous colon diseases. The risk that a single polyp will regenerate into the cancer is up to 4%, while the risk of multiple polyps degeneration is about 20%. Therefore, it is extremely important for the patients in which the polyps were detected to visit an oncologist regularly. Oftentimes the polyps may even not be felt by the patient throughout his entire life. Moreover, the colon polyps are quite common, about 30% of people don’t suspect they have them.
Genetic predisposition is also considered one of the important key factors contributing to the development of colon cancer. Genetic mutations do not make the colon cancer inevitable, but they can significantly increase the risk of its growth. Patients whose relatives have suffered or are suffering from colon cancer, experience the higher risk of having this disease than those who do not have such relatives. In addition, the risk of colon cancer is higher not only under the same cancer type in any of the relatives but also under other malignancies. One of the risk factors of the colon cancer is so-called family polyposis when several members of the same family are affected by the multiple colon polyps. In this case, the risk of polyps degeneration into a cancer tumor is significantly higher.
Studies show that women who have a history of ovarian cancer, uterine or breast cancer encounter an increased risk of colon cancer. Those who have already suffered the colon cancer may experience the return of the disease again.
The scientists also outline a set of colon cancer risk factors that include:
• Physical inactivity. Low physical activity may also be a risk factor for colon cancer. This is due to the fact that inactivity often leads to a violation of the intestine function that is manifested by frequent constipation.
• Obesity. Patients with an excessive body weight encounter an increased risk of colon cancer. In addition, a level of mortality from colon cancer is much higher among such patients.
• Smoking. Undoubtedly, smoking also increases the risk of colon cancer like many other diseases.
• Violations of the growth hormone synthesis. This hormone is synthesized by the pituitary body. Some diseases cause the increase of its level in the blood. This fact also increases the risk of colon cancer.
• Radiation therapy. Radiation therapy is widely used to treat tumors but it also may lead to colon cancer.
• Celiac disease, i.e. a gluten intolerance is also one of the risk factors of the colon cancer.
• Profession. Asbestos production is very dangerous in terms of the high risk to suffer from different types of cancer, including colon cancer.